Each season of 13 Reasons Why is centered around tragedy, and Season 4 revealed it would be no different in the first moment of the premiere episode. The final season began with an ominous scene: a flash-forward to the funeral of a Liberty High student whose identity is not revealed. Right away, the new run of episodes kicked off with a pressing question: Whose funeral is in 13 Reasons Why Season 4? The flash-forward continues to appear at the beginning of several episodes, but it's not until the end of the season that the truth is revealed.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from Season 4 of 13 Reasons Why. Leave it to 13 Reasons Why to start a new season with a shock. The opening scene of Season 4 showed a minister delivering a eulogy for an unidentified body, only revealing the dead person was a Liberty High student. Before viewers could get any more information, the show jumped back six months earlier to winter break, and fans were left wondering who will end up in that casket come graduation time.
All of the storylines in Season 4 make a confusing case for who might die by the series' grand finale. Most notably, Clay was in a dangerous downward spiral all season long, constantly having traumatic visions and uncontrollable panic attacks. Even more alarming, Clay found himself becoming more aggressive than ever before, and came to realize he'd been committing reckless acts without even knowing about them.
But Clay's erratic behavior was rivaled in dangerousness by Zach's new devil-may-care lifestyle. With his future in football ruined and his spirit crushed by his role in Bryce's death and coverup, Zach chose to block out anything negative in Season 4 to focus only on partying and drinking. He showed off his death-defying new hobbies of walking on the edge of buildings, and later expressed a startling lack of concern for his own life by goading Diego into brutalizing him on the docks.
Tyler also put himself in harm's way this season. In exchange for immunity after his guns were discovered, Tyler agreed to work with the police on undercover sting operations to catch gun dealers, a job that could very easily go south fast.
There was also a reason to believe Alex would end up in the casket, since one of the speakers in the funeral flash-forwards was Charlie, who began dating Alex toward the end of the season.
But Charlie's appearance could pointed to the death of another character: Justin. Since Charlie and Justin were co-captains of Liberty's football team, it would make sense for Charlie to deliver a eulogy if Justin died. Sadly, it started to seem more and more likely that Justin would not survive high school as Season 4 went on; after learning his mom had died of an overdose on the docks, Justin relapsed and began using heroin again.
There were plenty of reasons to believe any one of the 13 Reasons Why characters could end up dead in the series finale, but in the end, the show finally revealed its final victim. In Episode 9, Justin tried to stop using heroin on his own, and he began to get really ill. Still, he showed up to prom and had a touching reconciliation moment with Jess, but as they were dancing and celebrating, Justin collapsed.
In the finale, it was revealed Justin wasn't just suffering from the flu, nor heroin withdrawal symptoms, like viewers may have thought. After he was admitted to the hospital, viewers learned Justin had contracted HIV, which progressed to AIDS. Fans watched with heartbreak as Justin's condition rapidly worsened, until he died in the hospital, with his family, the Jensens, surrounding him.
The series finale then caught up to the funeral — Justin's funeral — and fans, along with the characters in the show, mourned the loss of him.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.